I am unable to exercise. Can I still lose weight?

Many people assume that they cannot lose weight because they are unable to exercise for various reasons such as knee or back pains. The good news is that weight loss is absolutely possible even without exercise. Remember that the key to weight loss is calories in versus calories out. We all have a minimum amount of calories we need to maintain our weight (Our basic metabolic rate or BMR). If you eat more you will gain weight over time, eat less and you will lose weight. Unfortunately, the less active you are, the less daily calories you will require to maintain your weight at a set level. Furthermore, the less muscle mass you have, the less calories you burn sitting around. (This becomes an important issue for many as they get older and become inactive. Muscle seems to turn to fat which is less metabolically active than muscle. This is why muscle building/strengthening exercises are important at any age.) The basic metabolic rate for most people tends to be between 1500 – 2000 calories a day. One pound is equal to 3500 calories. Therefore, to lose a pound you need to eat 3500 calories less or burn them off with exercise. Clearly, it is more difficult to lose weight when not being able to exercise. If your daily calorie requirement is 1800 calories and you consume 1500 calories you will lose 1 pound in almost 2 weeks (3500/300 = about 12 days). This is not fast weight loss, but should result in slow but steady weight loss (about 2 pounds per month – which then equates to almost 25 pounds in a year!) The key is consistency and patience. Unfortunately, most become impatient and give up too soon. As I have discussed in previous posts, one key is to eat foods that are not calorie dense. You do not want to be hungry or you will give up. Eat good sized portions of low calorie dense foods. (Especially fruits and vegetables!) Make sure your foods are nutrient dense. Your goal is is the most nutrition you can get for the least calories. As people do start to lose weight, many see striking improvements in their energy and their aches and pains which then allows them to become more active and speed up the weight loss process. Overall, have a long term weight loss goal and stick to it. Remember, patience and consistency are critical to long term weight loss. Do not get frustrated. The weight will come off. Just keep thinking how much more energy you will have and how much better you will feel in the long term!

Author: drjeffgreenberg

Dr Greenberg is a clinical cardiologist who specializes in preventive cardiology, nutrition, exercise, and longevity. He favors using natural methods to improving one's health.

One thought on “I am unable to exercise. Can I still lose weight?”

  1. I have found numerous chair and bed exercises on the internet that most people may be able to do to help build strength and endurance and help with weight loss.

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